Foundations of Practice: Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics


                                               Registration is now open!


Want to strengthen your outreach skills? Become a more effective leader – ready, trained, and poised to help communities through these difficult times?  Whether your background is in agriculture, natural resources, youth development, family, economic or community development, Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics offers you the skills and knowledge to be the positive force communities need.

Successful community engagement thrives on understanding the needs and conditions in your town, county, state or region. Tapping into a long legacy of one of the country’s most respected organizations, this training, brought to you by the Cooperative Extension Service, eXtension, and the Regional Rural Development Centers, will provide you the resources and strategies to support your work in communities. 

This exciting series – taught online using the latest technology will be offered on seven consecutive Thursdays from October 6, 2016 to November 17, 2016. Each 90-minute presentation will start at 3:00pm Eastern (2:00pm Central; 1:00 Mountain; 12:00 Pacific). Webinars will be recorded in case you have to miss a week. 

What to Expect

Going beyond a lecture series, this training offers participants supplemental learning materials, group discussions opportunities, and additional resources allowing the exchange and discussion of ideas, challenges, and opportunities. The training consists of a weekly 90 minute interactive webinar offered via Zoom. In addition to weekly presentations, the course website provides supplemental resources, discussion opportunities and tools that you can use in your community work.

About Registration

Registration fee is $100 (early registration discount available). 

Session Topics

Session 1. Introduction to Community Development (Steve Jeanetta)

Want to know more about the principles of doing good community development work? Here’s the starting line. Covering the dynamics of community life, this introduction helps you discover some of the key characteristics of the community that can facilitate (or impede) the development of effective community-improvement programs.

Session 2. Community Demographics (Don Albrecht)

Doing quality community development work is pretty difficult if you lack a sound understanding of the current and emerging features of your community and its population. What are the population, economic, and social conditions and trends in your community? This session will provide you with valuable guidelines on ways to create useful data-based profiles of your community.

Session 3. Community Situational Analysis (Lori Garkovitch)

Every community has challenges that impede its ability to become stronger and more vibrant. But, taking the time to truly understand the mix of issues impacting the well-being of a community is crucial. Learn about a valuable process for engaging local people and groups in a systematic, step by step process for uncovering high priority issues and taking action on these concerns.

Session 4. Community Economics (Dave Shideler)

Money comes and goes, but knowing who is bringing it in, how it is being invested, and how it is leaving the community is important to supporting a vibrant economy. Learn about the many facets of a community’s economic complexion in this session.

Session 5. Community Power Structures (Dan Kahl)

Knowing the visible and “behind the scenes” leaders in a community is crucial to any effort by a group to promote and advance key community development activities. Find out about the important layers of leadership in your community and the straightforward manner for identifying the various leadership roles that individuals play.

Session 6. Mapping Community Assets (Stacy McCullough)

This session will introduce webinar participants to the asset-based community development (ABCD) approach and highlight the seven community capitals framework. The value of linking the asset-based community development process with the seven community capitals framework will be demonstrated.

Session 7. Community Development Process (Deborah Tootle)

Several approaches can facilitate the ability of communities to get things done. Learn about some valuable tools and procedures – both past and present – that can offer a valuable roadmap on how to pursue good community development work.